What is cancer?

Why is important to understand cancer?

We are highlighting cancer because it affects so many people.

It's estimated that 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.

Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.

Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis.

1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the UK, the 4 most common types of cancer are:

There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way.

You can find links on the NHS website and information about other types of cancer.


There is no when or who with cancer.  Because it can affect anyone, at any stage of their life, it's important we take care of our health and become aware of any unusual changes.

Changes to your body's normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms, as they can sometimes be an early sign of cancer.

Spotting signs of cancer can lead to early diagnosis and can be easier to treat.  In some cases, with early screening, abnormalities can be detected early enough to prevent the cancer from developing.


If you notice any symptoms you are worried about, book an appointment with your GP and be checked by a doctor as soon as possible. 

For more on cancer symptoms, check out our spotlight feature.

It's important to get help from a GP if you have symptoms that you're worried about.

West Essex GP Directory